Womens FA Cup final: Chloe Kelly says no WSL team can match Man City

- BBC News

Womens FA Cup final: Chloe Kelly says no WSL team can match Man City

A year ago, playing in an FA Cup final was something Manchester City forward Chloe Kelly could only dream of after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

However, after 11 months on the sidelines, the 24-year-old has now returned to the pitch "hungry" for success and still hopeful of making a late claim for a place in the England squad at this summers Euros.

She will have the chance to impress on the biggest stage on Sunday as City look to claim their second trophy of the season against holders Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley.

According to Kelly, City do not fear any team in the Womens Super League, not even the newly crowned champions.

"Theres not a team in the league that can match our footballing ability," Kelly told BBC Sport. "I think the way we play is brilliant and thats why I love playing here at Manchester City."

Both teams are targeting their second pieces of silverware for the season.

Chelsea clinched a historic third successive WSL title last Sunday, but City will be hoping to add to their Continental League Cup trophy that they won in March by beating Emma Hayes side 3-1 in the final.

"We know we beat them in the Continental Cup already this season so that gives us a bit of confidence going into the game." Kelly explained.

"Of course they have their threats but we need to focus on what we can do to break them down and find their weaknesses, rather than worrying about them too much."

FA Cup fever has spread through Kellys family and friends, with around 90 of them snapping up tickets to support her at Wembley.

"The whole family are looking forward to it, probably more so than me because I have played at Wembley before but without the fans there, so this time to do it in front of my family will be extra special," said Kelly, who joined City from Everton in 2020.

"My mum probably wont even be watching the game, she will probably be chatting to keep her mind off it."

It has been a long journey back for the England international since that match against Birmingham in May 2021 where she scored twice before a clash of knees caused her ACL injury.

"I have watched it back a fair few times but I know that wasnt in my control, it was a challenge. So when people do their ACLs and it is non-contact, maybe you dont trust your body as much any more, but I trust my body. I dont have any fear in my knee, I feel good," Kelly said.

"When you have that spell on the sidelines, when you come back you just appreciate it so much more so I am just enjoying every minute back on the pitch.

"I feel like a kid at the moment, I dont want the season to end. Im hungry to learn, Im hungry to win trophies."

On paper Gareth Taylors side head into Sundays final as underdogs having finished third in the WSL, nine points behind Chelsea, but they are arguably the leagues most in-form team after winning their past 13 games in all competitions, scoring 46 goals in the process.

City have bounced back from an injury-hit start to the season which saw them lie in ninth place in November. "I think the start was difficult," Kelly said. "Everyone wrote us off for the Champions League.

"But we always believed that wed qualify for the Champions League and to be in the FA Cup final. Weve won the Conti Cup already and third place in the league - no-one really expected that other than ourselves."

Fully recovered and rediscovering her best form, Kelly is also hoping to defy the odds by making Sarina Wiegmans England squad for the Euros, which begin on 6 July.

"In myself I knew I would get back and I would be on the pitch back to my best again but I think from the outside looking in people didnt think I would be in this position now," she said.

"Of course I want to be at that Euros and thats what I am fighting for at the moment. Each game is a stepping stone for getting there so Im focusing on taking each week as it comes."

Read it all at BBC News